In May, coinciding with the local festivities of the popular Feria del Caballo in Jerez, FTEJerez celebrated the 20th anniversary of its move from its original base in Prestwick, Scotland, to its current location in Jerez, Spain.
Founded as British Aerospace Flight Training, after the move to Spain in 1999 the company re-branded as ‘FTE Jerez’ in 2003 and is now run by major shareholder and CEO Oscar Sordo.
To celebrate the occasion, FTEJerez invited over 50 airline captains, senior managers and training and recruitment specialists from FTE’s main ATC and airline partners, including representatives from Aer Lingus, BA, easyJet, Flybe, Thomas Cook, BA CityFlyer, MEA, Volotea, NATS and more.
At a presentation to his guests, Oscar Sordo highlighted current trends in the professional flight training market. FTE Jerez has an annual output of around 200 pilots and in the last three years self-sponsored cadet assessment and enquiries have increased by an average of 20% annually.
Indeed, Oscar highlighted the fact that FTEJerez currently has more than 40 selected self-sponsored candidates on a waiting list to start training, who will probably only be placed in 2020.
As with many other major schools, FTE Jerez is also finds that retention of senior multi engine Flight Instructors has become a challenge, FTE Jerez’s response includes a full sponsored FI training programme and an upgrade FI development programme. Meantime, Oscar also highlighted a shift towards the MPL training route over traditional ATPL training.
The school has also seen a steady increase in airline-sponsored cadets, with airline cadets now making up 73% of FTE’s pilot trainees; overall pilot trainee numbers have risen by 30% in the last four years. Since arriving in Spain, FTE has graduated over 2000 professional pilots.
To manage the increasing demand for pilot training, FTE has made a number of investments, including the acquisition a new airfield in Trebujena, around 15 kilometres from FTE’s main headquarters. Trebujena aerodrome operates from Monday to Sunday and features a radio service from sunrise to sunset, an asphalt runway of 800 x 18 meters and a team of radio operators providing information to VFR traffic.
A large annexing area provides hangars, office space and facilities to carry out a whole range of aeronautical activities and FTE’s flight operations recently established a company record of 140 touch and goes at the airfield in one day.
FTE has also inaugurated a new A320 simulator, a MPS FTD 1 Device. With the certification process expected to be completed by the end of May, the simulator’s main focus will be to deliver MPL training, although FTEJerez also plans to start delivering Type Ratings later this year.
During the event, Oscar Sordo, FTEJerez CEO, also highlighted the school’s ATC department, commenting: “In 2011, following the liberalisation of the ATC sector in Spain, we started offering ATC training with only one simulator and a small team. Today, our ATC department relies on a team of over 40 professionals and features 13 simulators, and in the last year alone, we have trained 100 controllers who are joining the main towers and control centres in the UK and Spain”.
Other new developments include the new ‘La Parra’ facilities, a former 4-star hotel located only half a mile from the main campus, that will offer nearly 100 rooms for FTE cadets and additional leisure facilities.
Finally, Oscar presented’20 Years of Service’ awards to the longest serving employees, in recognition of their continued support to the company and their contribution to FTE’s success. “In such a dynamic and changing industry as aviation, to celebrate our 20th anniversary is an extraordinary achievement which is only possible because our main strength is in our people, who each day deliver outstanding services to our students and customers.
It is a pleasure to recognise the longstanding service and dedication of our most senior colleagues, and we look forward to having them in our team for many years to come!” said Oscar.